Railway politics at the World Economic Forum on Africa

Railway politics is taking centre stage at the World Economic Forum on Africa in Kigali. Rwanda said the proposed  standard-gauge rail link to the Indian Ocean, is cheaper and shorter through Tanzania. Rwanda, Kenya and Uganda in 2013 agreed to construct a rail link to the Kenyan port of Mombasa. However, Uganda plans to develop a link to South Sudan, delaying the Rwanda section of the railway. Uganda has emerged as South Sudan’s largest trading partner.

Conspiracy theorists in Kenya must be having a field day. Last month Uganda selected the Tanga Port in Tanzania, over its much larger Mombasa neighbour, as the most cost effective route to export its crude oil from Hoima.

In East Africa, the Northern and Central Transport Corridors connect Burundi, Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania and Uganda. The corridors also provide port access to the Democratic Republic of Congo and Southern Sudan.